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John Whitehouse wins 26th Outstanding Contribution to the industry award
 John Whitehouse wins 26th Outstanding Contribution award at FEA conference and Inaugural Chairman’s Award recipients 2022

Annual award show hails “true game changer”.

PLUS... nine outstanding individuals named in inaugural Chairman’s Awards

John Whitehouse, Managing Director of First Choice Group, won the Outstanding Contribution to the Foodservice Industry award at the Foodservice Equipment Association’s conference. The award, now in its 27th year, is presented in association with The Caterer magazine and recognises those who have had a significant positive impact on the industry during their career.  The announcement was made during the gala dinner at the FEA Conference, on November 10th. 

John began working in the catering equipment sector in the early 90s. In 1999 he moved on from his role as General Manager at Electrolux Commercial Services and founded First Choice Group with Carl Bate. Since then the company has grown to become the UK’s largest stockist of genuine OEM spare parts, accessories and consumables, processing over 1000 orders a day and employing 160 staff.

An active supporter of the FEA for many years, John joined the council in 2009, became vice chair in 2016 and, as chair in 2019, oversaw the rebrand from CESA to FEA. A committed family man, John is also a selfless fundraiser for charity and volunteers at his local food bank and hospice.

“It is not often that we come across someone who can truly be described as a game changer, but without question John is a true game changer in our industry,” says FEA chair Paul Anderson. “John’s passion, commitment, enthusiasm and energy has helped First Choice grow from a small Midlands-based export business to a global distributor that turns over in excess of £40m, and a stockholding valued at £9m.”

This year’s FEA awards also saw the launch of the Chairman’s Awards, which recognise those whose distinguished service and hard work has maintained and enhanced the the industry’s professionalism and integrity to  ensure a better future for the foodservice industry as a whole. Nine people were recognised for this inaugural event. The winners were Malcolm Harling, Peter Jarrett, Martin Keay, Phill Mills, David Riley, Iain Munro, Nick Oryino, Julie Barker and ex. Serviceline MD and FEA vice chair, Stephen Elliott.

The picture accompanying this PR shows John Whitehouse, centre, with Paul Anderson and Lisa Jenkins, managing editor of The Caterer. 

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA)is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit 

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